Four held for waylaying trader

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM NOV. 9. The Thampanoor police have arrested four youth on charges of waylaying a trader and robbing him of Rs. 1.85 lakhs.

The accused were identified as Raju (32) of Vattiyoorkavu, `Motta' Pradeep (22), Dilip (22) and `Dingan' Shibu, all residents of Chenkalchoola colony. Efforts were on to nab the gang leader, Murugan. The SI (Thampanoor), K. Sasindran Nair, said that nearly Rs 90,000 of the loot has been recovered.

Police said the accused had waylaid one Muhammad Kunju of Oachira at Manjalikulam junction during the power cut period on the night of October 29. Mr. Kunju had come to the city to take part in the auction of shopping lots in Sabarimala.

Police said the accused Raju, a small time vendor of bed- sheets in Sabarimala, knew the trader and was aware that he would come with a large amount of money to attend this year's auction. Through Murugan, Raju hired the gang to rob Mr. Kunju.

On October 29 evening, in an apparent ploy to point out the trader to the gang members, Raju met Mr. Kunju in front of the Devaswom office. The gang members then followed Mr. Kunju in an autorickshaw to his lodge in Manjalikulam. They waylaid him when he came out of the lodge to make a phone call at the local STD booth. After snatching the money bag, they ran to Ayurveda College junction and took an autorickshaw to Pound Colony. The gang met later at Murugan's house in Chenkalchoola and shared the loot.

Mr. Nair said Raju was given only Rs. 3,000. Murugan took the lion's share of the loot. The others were given Rs. 35,000 each.

After the operation, the gang went on a spending spree and hosted lavish parties for their friends. Police noticed the sudden flush of money displayed by the gang members and put a tab on them.

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